A Small Step

Here’s an old journal entry I just discovered. It inspired me and I wrote it, so I think it’s worth your time as well. 🙂 Enjoy.

Maybe if I’d known how much I would learn from my kids, we would have had them earlier. And maybe not. But here I am, just turned 40, my oldest child almost 10 and my youngest, Prince William, a hair past one. I know, a baby at 40 when I’m technically old enough to be his grandfather. (Which means Sandra is old enough to be a grandmother, but please don’t say that to her.) It seems crazy doesn’t it? But I guess I’m learning all the really important lessons of life when God thought I might pay attention. I’m a slow learner and always behind the curve. I didn’t discover King of Queens until the 8th season and then they cancelled it in the 9th. Again, as usual, I digress. On to the lesson.

Shelby Lynne, my very special second child, taught me the latest lesson. We were at Cane Creek with Sandra’s family celebrating our nephew Hampton’s high school graduation. Another nephew, Chris, was fishing with full gear—rod, reel, bait, tackle box, Red Man tobacco, just kidding about that last one. Shelby and her younger cousin, Joel, wanted to fish also, but had nothing. So Shelby found an old fishing line, about 18 inches long with an artificial minnow tied to it, that had apparently been broken off on the rocks. Joel found a twig, not a stick, he corrected me on that point and Shelby tied the line to the twig. With the faith that comes easy only for children, they tossed the line into the great depths of Cane Creek. Within minutes she caught a small crappy. Shelby Lynne uncorked! She dropped the fish, her arms flailing as much as the petite catch of the day and ran up the hill screaming in excitement to Mommy. (I unhooked the poor little guy and tossed him back.)

Point—Shelby wanted to fish and her tiny obstacle, a simple lack of anything to help with this desire, did not slow her down. She took the initiative. She found a way. And that’s the thing about Shelby. When she sets her mind on a course, being in her way is not the best place to set up camp. Think strong-willed.

But Shelby taught me, well reinforced for me, that when I want something, I need to take the initiative, get the ball rolling. Doing something unleashes a powerful force of dynamics into the universe that reverberates like a small pebble in a big pond. A small step will take you somewhere, maybe not where you thought you wanted to go, but with prayer and a keen ear to hear God’s sometimes gentle, guiding voice, you can end up in a better place than you ever imagined. But often we settle for only good, for comfortable. We can have good without much effort, just coasting in the familiar ruts we’ve carved for ourselves. Good is easy. Good is safe. Good is the enemy of best. The best requires effort, faith, sacrifice, courage and more, I’m sure. We can get cozy in our comfortable ruts and eat cube steak which is good, but never taste the savory, mouth-watering magic of filet mignon. Filets cost more. Best costs more than good.  Are we willing to settle for just good? Is this all we want for our lives? Are we too afraid to take initiative? Too scared of the costs to pay the price for the best? “Oh ye of little faith!” (Luke 12:28). I can tell you that God wants more for us. He wants to “bless and prosper us” (Jeremiah 29:11). He wants us to “have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Do we think we can just whisper prayers each day asking God to bless us and then sit on these prayers? I believe that we must do what we know to do before we can expect God to do anything for us. And one of these things is to remember our dreams, to resist complacency. Our flesh screams for the comfortable, easy, cheap way, but our hearts and souls cry out for more. Our flesh is at war with us. Read Romans chapter 7. And in 1 Corinthians 9:27, the Apostle Paul said that he must beat his body into submission. Why? Because our flesh, our bodies, our sinful nature is a living, active creature fighting to rob us of the joys and thrills that come with living on the edge with God. God’s not into our comfort zones. He’s of no use there. We can handle things just fine there on our own without God’s help.  He’s just beyond the borders of them with His arms outstretched wanting to guide us into the unknown, mysterious and scary places where our dreams reside. But our flesh will fight us the whole way as we head to the exits of our comfort zones. “Stay in bed an hour longer.” “What if you fail?” “What if your boss hates your new idea?” “You’re too old to change careers.” “You really expect to get published when thousands of other writers can’t?” “If you keep saying no to your boyfriend he won’t love you anymore.” “Sure, John succeeded at his new business, but you’re not as smart as John.” On and on it goes. Ground and pound that flesh into oblivion! Make it shut up so that you can hear the voice of God whisper, “you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” (Philippians 4:13).

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